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Wot No Drivers?

Wot No Drivers?

Yes, you read that right. Platoons of driverless lorries are to be tested on British motorways as part of a government initiative to drive forward road safety. The lorries steering, acceleration and braking will all be controlled by a driver in the lead vehicle in the platoon of ten. However, we need not panic yet, as during the first pilot testing each lorry drone will have a driver in the cab as a safety precaution.

However, not everyone has been on-board with the plan, Paul Watters, the head of roads and transport policy for the AA stated that “there are many obstacles ahead of achieving the driverless utopia of the roads…Motorways are pretty congested in the UK, they are about the most congested in Europe, and there will be problems in how they access and exit the roads.”

The idea behind a platoon of lorries, travelling around ten metres apart, is to allow for better fuel consumption by reducing drag, as well as improving traffic congestion on the roads. It will also relieve some of the pressure on companies suffering from the recruitment drought. Last year the Freight Transport Association estimated that the UK faced a shortage of approximately 60,000 drivers and the opportunity for driverless lorries may be an idea that appeals to many.

The lorries are fitted with some of the most advanced radar and camera sensing technology and will lead the way for testing both connected and driverless vehicles. Germany was the first country to undergo driverless lorry tests on a public road back in October 2015, with positive results. 

The Department for Transport have been unable to confirm the location of the test route or the timetable for these trials, so if you are travelling along a motorway and see a lorry with no driver behind the wheel…don’t be alarmed!  

What do you think about driverless lorries? Have your say here

20 April 2016

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